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New Legislation Paves Way for Self-Driving Cars

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The State Senate unanimously passed a bill yesterday that paves the way for self-driving cars in California.

Senate Bill 1296, authored by Senator Alex Padilla, was designed to establish safety and performance standards for the autonomous vehicles for use on public roads and highways. The bill would allow licensed drivers to operate a driverless car in California; it would require that the vehicles meet performance standards as required by state and federal law; and the bill would allow the Highway Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles to add their recommendations for additional safety requirements. After yesterday's victory, the bill moves forward to the State Assembly for consideration.

“Developing and deploying autonomous vehicles will not only save lives, it will create jobs," Padilla said in a statement. "California is uniquely positioned to be the global leader in this field."

Google, BMW, Audi and Volvo are currently developing driverless technology, and Google's driverless cars have already been safety tested on more than 200,000 miles in California.

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Similar legislation was signed into law last year in Nevada, and other states considering autonomous vehicle legislation include Arizona, Hawaii, Florida and Oklahoma, according to the announcement.